Ver Angola


'500 million case': more than 100 questions submitted, sentence still undated

This Thursday, the court presented more than 100 questions, the answers to which will precede the reading of the judgment, still without a trial date in relation to an alleged illegal transfer of 500 million dollars where "Zenu" dos Santos, son of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, is accused.

: Angop

According to the presiding judge, João Pitra, there were several proposals to amend and add other issues, built on the indictment, indictment, personal issues of the representatives of the defense and the hearing for discussion and production of evidence, which the court will analyze to then deliberate and formulate the sentence, "which will be read in due course".

In the meantime, a question submitted by the prosecution almost at the end of the session was objected to by the defense.

The Public Prosecutor questioned whether it had been proven that after the signing of the "Asset Alocation and Manegement Agreement", the defendants Jorge Gaudens Pontes Sebastião, José Filomeno dos Santos and Hugo Onderwater signed a Trust Agreement with the company PerfectBit Limited.

"Was it proven that this agreement aimed to receive the amounts transferred by the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) as if the consortium was the owner of these? It was proved that, in the agreement, the parties agreed that only and only the consortium could claim ownership of the amounts transferred from the BNA, keeping the latter institution from any intervention?", were the proposed issues.

In statements to the press, the lawyer of the defendant Jorge Gaudens Sebastião, considered "despair of cause" the Public Prosecutor's Office is raising questions "absolutely contrary to what the agreement says.

"It doesn't make sense, it's despair of cause," said Bangula Quemba, adding that this is a settlement that is in the process, "but it doesn't say what he is saying.

According to the lawyer, the issues have to be elaborated according to the prosecution, the indictment, the facts discussed during the trial hearing, "but the prosecutor came to bring facts that are neither in the indictment nor in the indictment, much less were discussed at the trial hearing.

The trial, which began on 9 December 2019, has as defendants the former governor of the National Bank of Angola, Valter Filipe and António Bule Manuel, administrator of the BNA, both accused of the crimes of embezzlement, fraud and money laundering, for which the Public Prosecutor requested sentences of no less than ten years.

José Filomeno dos Santos, former president of the Sovereign Fund of Angola and son of the former president, José Eduardo dos Santos, and Jorge Gaudens Pontes Sebastião, a businessman, accused of the crimes of embezzlement, money laundering and fraud for defrauding, are also accused in this case, and the Public Prosecutor requested for both sentences of not less than seven years.

The case dates back to 2017, when Jorge Gaudens Pontes Sebastião presented José Filomeno "Zenu" dos Santos with a financing proposal for the creation of a strategic investment fund worth 30 billion euros, which he forwarded to the executive.

The deal involved as a "previous condition", according to a statement from the executive issued in April 2018, which announced the recovery of 500 million dollars, the capitalisation of 1.5 billion dollars by Angola, plus a payment of 33 million euros to set up the financing structures.

Following that, two contracts were signed between BNA and Mais Financial Services, a company owned by Jorge Gaudens Pontes Sebastião, a long-time friend of co-guardian José Filomeno dos Santos, for setting up the financing operation. In August 2017, US$500 million were transferred to the PerfectBit account, "contracted by the promoters of the operation", for the purpose of custody of the funds to be structured.

In this case, the former Head of State testified in a letter addressed to the court, which guided Valter Filipe to conduct the process and transfer the said amounts, "all in the public interest".


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